Monday, August 16, 2010

News: No Fault Divorce and Other New Laws

Governor Signs No Fault Divorce Bill.

On August 14, 2010, Governor Paterson signed three bills into law affecting matrimonial practice effective 60 days hence and applicable to cases and proceedings thereafter commenced. New York, formerly the only remaining State not to have a form of no-fault, has now joined the rest of the Union. It provides for a new ground for divorce as follows:

"The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath. No judgment of divorce shall be granted under
this subdivision unless and until the economic issues of equitable distribution of marital property, the payment or waiver of spousal support, the payment of child support, the payment of counsel and experts' fees and expenses as well as the custody and visitation with the infant children of the marriage have been resolved by the parties, or determined by the court and incorporated into the judgment of divorce."

In addition, there are two other laws which were enacted. They generally relate to (1) the establishment of a presumption for counsel fees to be awarded to the non-monied spouse; and (2) a formula for interim spousal support in a manner similar to the provisions of the Child Support guidelines. The latter law also adds domestic violence and parties living together before the marriage as factors in awarding post-divorce maintenance.

More details and analysis to come in the near future